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Israel Comes to Upper Fairfield County!

Now in its 20th year, the Federation Israeli Emissary program was first piloted in Westport as a way to build a living bridge between Israel and diaspora Jewish communities. This wonderful opportunity is made possible through our Federation’s relationship with the Jewish Agency for Israel.


Every year, four recent Israeli high-school graduates choose to postpone their Israeli military service to spend the year sharing their love of Israel with our preschools and religious schools, adult-education programs, local high schools and dayschools, and Jewish Senior Services. While all four work together on community-wide events, they each have primary responsibilities at individual synagogues.

This is a wonderful opportunity to add some cross-cultural enrichment to your family's life! Please reach out to these special young “ambassadors.” Invite them to your Shabbat-dinner table or adult dinner party, or to spend a day with your family enjoying apple-picking or the Big Apple. Show them a bit about life in the U.S. and listen as they share their thoughts on life in Israel. Consider being a host family for three months.

For more information, please contact Stacy Kamisar: skamisar@jewishphilanthropyct.org or Judy Blumenthal: jblumenthal@jewishphilanthropyct.org.


our 2019-2020 Federation Israeli Emissaries!




My name is Noya Ben Or. I live in a small place on Mount Gilboa called Gan Ner.

I really love to hang out with my friends. Friends are a big part of my life and my daily routine. My hobbies are painting, baking, and listening to music. I volunteered for three years as a counselor in the B’nei HaMoshavim youth movement. For two years, I led 6th- and 7th-graders and this year, I lead 10th-graders who just started to be counselors with the movement and I help them to settle in.

I have two younger brothers – Tzuf, 15, and Yair, 10. Both of my parents are massage therapists. My mom, Efrat, is also a yoga teacher and my dad, Avraham, also uses Tibetan Singing Bowls, special musical instruments that help people heal. I have two cats and I really love them. Even though I don’t have dogs, I really love them too.

I first found out about the Israeli Emissary Program from my older cousin, who did this year of service four years ago in New Jersey. This is when I decided that I wanted to do it. Throughout the training this year and all the seminars we have been through, I understood how important this connection is between the Israeli Jewish people and the diaspora Jews and how we as young emissaries can help it continue to exist.




My name is Ella and I live in Kibbutz Heftziba, a little beautiful place near Mount Gilboa with my parents, my two little sisters, Hadas and Shaked (we all have names of plants!), and our two dogs, a cat, and rabbits.

In my school, I took classes in theater and biology. I volunteer at a dog shelter. I love animals and I really enjoy being there. I also volunteer at Magen David Adom, an organization of emergency medical services.  I'm glad I have the chance to help people and be there for them in their worst situations. In my free time, I like to meet with my friends, travel with my family, and see new places. One of my biggest dreams is to fly to Africa and volunteer in an orphanage there. I feel I can give a lot of myself and the thought of doing this is very fulfilling.

Israel is a big part of me and a major part of my life – this is the place where I was born and grew up. In my Shlichut (emissary mission), I also want to "bring" Israel, the special culture and Israeli Judaism. I have a lot of motivation to be a part of the community's life and learn about Jewish life in different places. I think this mission is very important. I want to contribute, to represent Israel, and show the amazing and special sides of the country, to tell my story and the story of Israel. 

I'm very excited and can't wait to meet you!

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My name is Hoshen Peretz. I am 18 years old. I live in Gideona, a small village in the Jezre’el Valley in northern Israel. I have two siblings - my sister, Amy, is 20 and a soldier in the IDF, and my brother, Shai, is 16 and a student at the IDF Junior Command Preparatory School in Haifa. My father is a jeep tourguide and my mother is engaged in education and works for the Rashi Foundation.

I studied biology, nutrition, and human resources management at school, mainly because I'm interested in learning about the whole person, body and soul. In my free time, I love to travel in Israel with my family and spend time with friends.

I have been a counselor for three years in the Mashatzim youth movement that prepares young people to be leaders through the knowledge and love of Israel. I am also the chairperson of the Student and Youth Council in the Department of Rural Education in Israel. I am a Krav Maga trainer and have a black belt in karate. I won the country's female youth karate championship between 2008 and 2016.

I am very excited and happy to begin my year of service as a Jewish Agency emissary in the Jewish community of Upper Fairfield County.











I’m Ido Yaaran, 18 years old, from Herzliya, which is north of Tel Aviv. I have one younger brother, Roee, who is 16. I used to live in a settlement until I was 12, when my mother decided it was better for us live close to the big city. 


I studied math, physics, and engineering science at school, which reflects my adventurous character. Challenges like school lead me a lot in my life, and this is one of the reasons why I chose to go on shlichut (emissary mission). But it is also mostly because I want to work on building strong connections between Jews all over the world. I was empowered by my work as a junior counselor for the Diller Teen Fellows, a leadership program for Jewish teens all over the world.


I’m a hard worker and I try to fill my day with building projects, volunteering, Diller programs, and meeting my friends. I will bring all of this to your community. You’ll barely see me resting, but feel free to reach out and join in! Exploring is a key word for me, usually comes through in my love for traveling and also questioning who I am, my Jewish identity, hobbies, and more. I love changes. But mostly, I try to leave a mark.


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